Sanders puts out massive plan to fight climate change

Sanders puts out massive plan to fight climate change
© Aaron Schwartz

Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersWarren overtakes Biden in Iowa for first time: poll The polls are asking the wrong question Sanders unveils plan to eliminate Americans' medical debt MORE (I-Vt.), a 2020 White House hopeful, on Thursday unveiled his sweeping Green New Deal to tackle climate change, a plan he says would take on “the single greatest challenge facing our country” and create 20 million jobs.

“This is a pivotal moment in the history of America -- and really, in the history of humanity. The climate crisis is not only the single greatest challenge facing our country; it is also our single greatest opportunity to build a more just and equitable future, but we must act immediately,” said Sanders.

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“When we are in the White House, we will launch the decade of the Green New Deal, a 10-year mobilization to avert climate catastrophe during which climate change, justice and equity will be factored into virtually every area of policy, from immigration to trade to foreign policy and beyond.”

The plan calls for a transformation in the country’s energy system to transition to relying solely on renewable energy for electricity and transportation by 2030 and complete decarbonization by 2050. To push the transition forward, the proposal would create 20 million “good paying, union jobs” in several fields, including steel and auto manufacturing, construction, energy efficiency retrofitting and sustainable agriculture.

Sanders also vows he would declare climate change a national emergency at home and rejoin the Paris climate accord, from which President TrumpDonald John TrumpAlaska Republican Party cancels 2020 primary Ukrainian official denies Trump pressured president Trump goes after New York Times, Washington Post: 'They have gone totally CRAZY!!!!' MORE withdrew the U.S. in 2017.

Doubling down on his social justice bona fides, the Vermont progressive also says he would invest $40 billion in a Climate Justice Resiliency Fund to help under-resourced groups, communities of color, Native Americans, people with disabilities, children and the elderly recover from and prepare for the impacts of climate change.

Sanders would also make substantial investitures both at home and abroad to take on climate change, including a “historic” $16.3 trillion public investment that would echo “the mobilization of resources made during the New Deal and WWII” and providing $200 billion to the international Green Climate Fund.

Sanders’s campaign said the plan would pay for itself within 15 years by making the fossil fuel industry pay for their pollution, eliminating federal fossil fuel subsidies, curtailing military spending on maintaining global oil dependence, collecting new income tax revenue from the 20 million new jobs created, and more.

Climate change has swiftly become a flashpoint in the crowded Democratic primary field and a top concern among the party’s voters.

An April CNN poll found that 96 percent of Democrats believed it was “very” or “somewhat” important to take “aggressive action to slow the effects of climate change.”

Several candidates have put forth their own plans with specific nuances that contenders say make them the best situated to reverse climate change’s impacts.